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NORTHERN NEWS American Planning Association

A Publication of the Northern Section of the California Chapter of APA

Making Great Communities Happen

FEBRUARY 2011 Links to articles in this issue: ANNOUNCEMENTS 16 Grab your camera; bring your waders 18 Reviewer wanted 19 Call for the 2011 APA California–Northern Section Award Nominations 19 Author! Author! Put your name on this list 21 Alvaro Huerta wins National APA Award

DEPARTMENTS 5 Director’s note 6 Where in the world? 10 Northern California roundup 12 Onward and upward 17 Letters 20 Job ad 20 HSR notes 22 What others are saying 24 Calendar

OUR PROFESSION 7 In memoriam 13 2010 Northern Section holiday party 15 Redwood Coast Region Planners’ holiday party II

BOOK REVIEW 16 Principles of Brownfield Regeneration: Cleanup, Design, and Reuse of Derelict Land

California’s Prop 26: Levies, taxes, and fees. Oh my! By Alexandra Barnhill, Esq. This article originally appeared on January 15, 2011, in The Open Space published by APA California–Central Coast. Republished with permission. On November 2, 2010, California voters approved a new obstacle in the ever-growing gauntlet that is municipal finance law. The premise of Proposition 26 is simple enough. All levies in California will be classified as a tax and require a supra-majority vote to pass, unless an exception applies. But, not surprisingly, the devil is in the details. Understanding Prop 26 requires an understanding of the genesis of municipal finance law in California. Pre-Prop 13. Prior to 1978, the most important source of revenue for municipalities was derived from property taxes. At that time, property taxes were based on a property’s current assessed value, which increased significantly each year with inflation. If a municipality needed additional revenue, it was relatively easy to impose additional property taxes. As a result, the public felt that property taxes were growing at such a substantial rate that homeowners, particularly seniors and others on fixed incomes, would be priced out of their homes. Prop 13. The widespread public perception that there was no upper limit on local taxes eventually led to a taxpayer revolt. In 1978 the voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 13, a statewide ballot measure which was named the “People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation.” Prop 13 had three significant provisions. First, it limited the tax rate for real estate by capping the maximum amount of ad valorem tax on real property at 1 percent of the value of the property. Second, it decreased property values by assessing properties at their 1975 value and restricted annual increases of assessed value to an inflation factor not to exceed 2 percent per year. A property remains locked in at that base value until a change of ownership occurs or new construction is completed. Third, Prop 13 prohibited a local government from increasing a special tax, meaning a tax imposed for a specific purpose, unless it was ratified by two-thirds of the voters. This measure provided property owners the predictability they sought, for a little while. (continued on next page)


California’s Prop 26: Levies, taxes, and fees. Oh my! (continued from previous page)

Director Hanson Hom, AICP

(408) 730-7450

Director Elect Allen Tai, AICP

(408) 975-2544

Immediate Past Director Darcy Kremin, AICP

(925) 988-1278

Administrative Director Justin Meek

(831) 430-6796

Treasurer Jeff Baker

(925) 833-6610

AICP Director Don Bradley, AICP

(650) 592-0915

Awards Program Directors Andrea Ouse, AICP (650) 985-2590 Eileen Whitty, AICP (510) 287-1109

CPF Liaison Hing Wong, AICP

(510) 464-7966

Ethics Review Director Colette Meunier, AICP

(707) 748-4453

International Director Rob Eastwood, AICP

(408) 299-5792


Legislative Director Bryan Wenter, AICP

(925) 943-5800

Membership Director Brenna Moorhead, AICP

(415) 441-4458

Planning Commissioner Margaret Kavanaugh-Lynch (510) 227-9995

Planning Diversity Director Miroo Desai, AICP (510) 596-3785

Professional Development Director (415) 896-5900 Tania Sheyner, AICP

Section Historian Juan Borrelli, AICP

(408) 793-4384

Student Representatives Michelle Thong Sara Billing

(650) 207-5239 (510) 703-5896

University Liaison Emy Mendoza

(510) 326-1919

Webmaster Pierce Macdonald

(510) 459-6092

Young Planners Group Directors Lindsey Virdeh (650) 235-5004 Natalie De Leon (408) 313-2662

Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) East Bay Joanna Jansen, AICP Jane Wardani

(510) 848-3815 (510) 260-7180

Monterey Bay Elizabeth Caraker, AICP

(831) 372-1314

North Bay Ladd Miyasaki

(707) 935-3145

Peninsula Surachita Bose, AICP

(650) 393-4481

Redwood Coast Stephen Avis, AICP

(707) 725-1407

San Francisco Brian Soland, AICP

(415) 495-6201

South Bay Katja Irvin, AICP

(408) 569-8214

Prop 218. Having had one source of revenue severely limited, many municipalities shifted their reliance from property taxes to other revenue sources. In the 1980s and 90s, local governments began to focus on general taxes, assessments, and fees to finance municipal services. Over time, a public sentiment developed that local governments were intentionally circumventing the requirements of Prop 13 by expanding the methods by which they collected revenue from taxpayers without their consent. Proposition 218 was introduced as a statewide initiative in 1996 to address the public’s concern. Named the “Right to Vote on Taxes Act,” Prop 218 required that all new taxes, assessments, and most propertyrelated fees receive voter approval. The law also forbids the use of property-related fees for general governmental services. As a result, the power over taxation and revenue generation had largely been shifted away from local governments to voters and property owners. Prop 26. While Props 13 and 218 largely reformed municipal finance law, one source of revenue generation that remained relatively untouched was regulatory (non-property related) fees. The term regulatory fee can refer to a number of types of agency fees, such as fees for the issuance of a permit, administrative fees, and enforcement fees. A regulatory fee can also refer to exactions imposed on businesses and developers that pollute or cause health problems. These fees generate revenue for remedial programs for education, cleanup, health, or other programs of general benefit. For example, the state imposes a regulatory fee on businesses that make products containing lead—paint manufacturers, for example—to fund health services for children and mitigate the environmental impacts of lead contamination. Large corporations and small businesses alike claimed that the regulatory fees that funded remedial programs were actually hidden taxes because the proceeds were not used to benefit those charged. The corporations argued that, as taxes, regulatory levies should receive the same supra-majority voter approval that other special taxes receive. The California Supreme Court, however, rejected this argument in Sinclair Paint Co. v. State Board of Equalization. In response, Proposition 26, the “Stop Hidden Taxes Initiative,” was drafted to close this so-called loophole. With the political support of taxpayers’ associations and funding from oil companies, as well as alcohol and tobacco importers, manufacturers, and distributors, the measure was approved by a narrow margin. Prop 26 is now the law. Prop 26 requires some new fees—and certain existing fees that are extended or increased by a local government after November 3, 2010—to be re-classified as special taxes requiring two-thirds approval by local voters. This is accomplished by redefining all agency levies, charges, and exactions of any kind to be a tax, unless they fit within one of seven exceptions or are not “imposed” by the government (i.e., a voluntary payment made by contract).

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Northern News


February 2011


California’s Prop 26: Levies, taxes, and fees. Oh my!


(continued from previous page)

Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP Tel: (415) 699-7333

Following is a list of the seven types of levies that Prop 26 excludes from its new definition of taxes, along with common examples which may fit within the exception.

Mika Miyasato, AICP Associate Editor Tel: (510) 587-8677

Exception from the Definition of “Tax” 1. Levy for a specific benefit of privilege conveyed (if it does not exceed the reasonable cost, is directly conferred to the payer, and is not provided to those not charged).

Theresa M. Alster Associate Editor Tel: (408) 981-8346

Examples of Excepted Levy

Advertising Director/Jobs

• Professional license fees

Hannah Young, AICP Tel: (510) 847-9936

• Land use approval fees • Police permits, street closure permits, and parking permits in restricted zones

Newsletter Designer Nancy Roberts Tel: (408) 723-3200

• Some franchise fees 2. Levy for a service or product (if it does not exceed the reasonable cost, is directly conferred to the payer, and is not provided to those not charged).

ADDRESS CHANGES Membership Department APA National Headquarters 205 North Michigan Ave, Suite 1200 Chicago, IL 60601 Tel: (312) 431-9100

Examples of Excepted Levy • User fees (gas, electric, stormwater, trash) • Recreation class fee

The American Planning Association, California Chapter Northern, offers membership to city and regional planners and associated professionals primarily living or working in California, from Monterey County to Del Norte County, including the nine county San Francisco Bay Area and Lake and San Benito Counties. APA California Northern promotes planning-related continuing education and social functions in order to: • Provide an arena for communication and exchange of information about planning related activities;

• Ambulance transport service fees • Public records copying fee 3. Levy to cover certain costs of regulation (if it does not exceed the reasonable cost). Examples of Excepted Levy • Fees for licenses (pet licenses, bicycle licenses)

• Raise member awareness and involvement in APA affairs; • Increase public awareness of the importance of planning;

• Fees for commercial permits (massage parlors, taxicabs, dance hall, bingo, card room, peddlers)

• Encourage professionalism in the conduct of its members; and

• Investigative costs (fire inspection fees, alarm permit fees, police background checks)

• Foster a sense of community among the members.

• Audit costs, administrative enforcement costs, and adjudicative costs

APA California Northern publishes Northern News 10 times each year in PDF for the exchange of planning ideas and information. Current and back issues are available for download at Entirely the effort of volunteers, the News is written and produced by and for urban planners in Northern California. Circulation (downloads per issue) averages 6,000.

Northern News welcomes comments. Letters to the editor require the author’s first and last name, home or work street address and phone number (neither of which will be published), and professional affiliation or title (which will be published only with the author’s permission). All letters are subject to editing. Letters over 250 words are not considered. Deadlines for submitting materials for inclusion in Northern News range from the 12th to the 16th of the month prior to publication. The 2011 schedule can be viewed at Permission to reprint is granted. Please credit “Northern News,” APA, California Chapter.

4. Entrance fees, purchase price, rental fee, or lease cost for state or local government property. Examples of Excepted Levy • Franchise fees (cable, gas, electric, pipeline) for which rights to use government property are provided • Park entrance, museum admission, and facility rental fees • Equipment rental fees 5. Fines imposed by a court or local government as a result of a violation of law. Examples of Excepted Levy • Penalties for code violations (parking fines). • Late fees, interest charges, and other penalties. (continued on next page)

Northern News

3 February 2011

The display of calling cards from firms offering professional services appears in every issue of Northern News. Fees paid by the firms for this service help defray the costs of this newsletter.

California’s Prop 26: Levies, taxes, and fees. Oh my! (continued from previous page)

6. Levies imposed as a condition of property development. Examples of Excepted Levy • Many planning and building fees (building permit fees, construction permits) • Development impact fees and mitigation fees 7. Levies governed by Prop 218. Examples of Excepted Levy • Assessments on real property for a special benefit • Fees for government water and sewer retail services So with all of these exceptions, what did Prop 26 accomplish? Clearly those new and increased remedial regulatory fees imposed on businesses for the benefit of third parties, such as fees on tobacco products for educational programs, will be considered a tax. In addition, fees that exceed the cost of providing the benefit, service, or product, or which do not comply with Prop 218, will be subject to Prop 26. As a result, we can expect even more voter involvement in municipal finance matters. As with most initiatives, the true impact of Prop 26 will not be known until judicial rulings clarify the scope of the law. Therefore local agencies must proceed with caution and seek advice from their attorneys before they adopt a new or increased levy. In the future, as municipalities find ways to work with and around Prop 26, we can expect that another hurdle in California’s municipal finance scheme will be devised. Alexandra M. Barnhill is a municipal and land use attorney practicing in the Santa Barbara office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. She graduated summa cum laude, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received her J.D. from UC Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, 2005. She can be reached at or (805) 963-7000. Author’s Nota Bene: This article addresses the local government implications of Proposition 26. There are additional and somewhat different implications for the state, including a change in the two-thirds legislative approval requirement for taxes and different effective dates. ■

Northern News

4 February 2011



s the incoming Director for the APA California Northern Section, I am pleased to have the opportunity to lead the Board and continue our excellent track record of providing relevant activities and services for our members. Having been on the Board the past six years—the first four as the Ethics Review Director and the last two as the Director Elect—I have seen the Board evolve in size and outreach. The Board comprises fellow planners who freely dedicate their time to organize social events, publish a newsletter, maintain a website, provide professional development opportunities, and perform other tasks to effectively run an APA section. The energy level, can-do attitude, and past accomplishments of Board members are impressive. Expanding the Board to 35 members—though not without challenges—has allowed us to significantly increase services to the Section. We expanded our newsletter/eNews coverage and eNews frequency, and organized or co-sponsored events for AICP CM credits. We will continue our commitment to professional and student development while continuing to emphasize fun networking events such as our annual awards dinner and holiday party. I would like to heartily acknowledge Darcy Kremin, AICP, who has done an exceptional job leading the Board, including representing Northern Section on the APA California Board. Darcy has demonstrated considerable leadership and vision and has set a high standard to follow, and her continuing support on the Board as Past Director will be much appreciated. Additionally, I look forward to working with Allen Tai, AICP, and Justin Meek who have transitioned to the positions of Director-Elect and Administrative Director, respectively. I have the additional benefit of active involvement from two other Past Directors: Hing Wong, AICP, and Juan Borrelli, AICP. (Congratulations to Juan on his recent election to the Chapter board as Vice-President, Professional Development!) I write this as we move forward to our annual Board Retreat on January 22 to set our goals and priorities for 2011. I want to thank the approximately 200 members who responded to our membership survey sent out at the end of 2010. Your responses have been carefully evaluated and will help immensely in developing our program for this year. In addition to general membership service questions, the survey addressed sustainability planning. The Board formed a subcommittee to evaluate how the Northern Section can contribute professional support and enhance the dialogue on this immense topic. Much thanks to (continued on next page)

Northern News

5 February 2011

DIRECTOR’S NOTES (continued from previous page) Scott Edmondson, AICP, and Katja Irvin, AICP, for leading the sub-committee effort to craft a proposal for Board review. Final thoughts: Consider submitting a proposal for the 2011 APA Northern Section Awards to highlight the excellence of the professional work accomplished by members in our Section. The deadline for submittals is March 18. Information is on Northern Section’s website at or; or contact Andrea Ouse, AICP, for more information. The Section is also very pleased to announce the launch of its new Mentorship Program. Contact Andrew Waggoner,, for more information on participating as a mentor or mentee. ■

Where in the world?

Photo by Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP (Answer on page 15)

Northern News


February 2011

In memoriam Betty Croly, FAICP—urban planner, historian, conservationist The American Planning Association’s California Chapter traces its history back nearly 80 years to the California Planners Institute, which existed at least as early as 1933. The organization known today as the American Planning Association is actually the result of a 1948 merger between the California Planners Institute and the American Institute of Planners. We wouldn’t know that except for the untiring efforts of Betty Croly, APA California’s first and only Chapter-wide Historian. Marie Elisabeth (Betty) Croly, a former AICP commissioner and APA board member in the 1980s, and long-time historian of APA’s California Chapter, died December 5, 2010. She was 87. Betty was born in 1923 in Great Neck, New York, the second oldest of six children. “She had a fierce sense of independence,” said her nephew Allan Croly, “and bought her first automobile in 1940 at age 17.” During World War II, she lived in Greenwich Village, worked as draftsman in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and attended Cooper Union in the evenings. She received her Architecture Degree from The Cooper Union in 1946. On November 3, 1948, the day the Chicago Tribune famously and inaccurately headlined “Dewey Defeats Truman,” Betty and her sister Ruth left New York City and drove west to California. Betty immediately took up residence in Berkeley. During the 1950s she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in landscape architecture from UC Berkeley. Embarking on her planning career, Betty recognized early the importance of preserving and promoting the history of the profession. While working as a planner in several Bay Area cities and for the County of Alameda, Betty served on both the AICP Commission and the APA Board as a committed volunteer. Her longest tenure as a practicing planner was with Alameda County from 1969 to 1998, where she served as assistant planning director before her retirement. In 2000, Betty was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, which recognized her for initiating the national AICP Historic Landmark Pioneer Program in 1985. Betty was a tireless worker and staunchly loyal to friends and colleagues. She had served on the California Chapter board in a number of positions and became the chapter’s first historian in 1988. Under her direction, APA California expanded its chapter history offerings, as she collected and then oversaw the archiving of 2,000 planning publications at California State University, Northridge. She received the Planners (continued on next page)

Northern News

7 February 2011

In memoriam (continued from previous page) Emeritus Network (PEN) Honor Award at the 2008 APA California conference for extraordinary commitment to planning history and lifetime achievement in service to APA. Betty was passionate about environmental issues large and small. She was a longtime member of the Claremont Elmwood Neighborhood Association, an early founding sponsor of the Claremont Canyon Conservancy (Oakland/Berkeley), a member of the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area, and a member of the World Future Society. She served on the Berkeley Waterfront Commission when Santa Fe initiated its Last Proposal for the Berkeley Waterfront in the early 1980s. About 40 people (half of them Betty’s planning colleagues) attended a memorial service held on January 8th at the Berkeley Methodist United Church. Miguel Vazquez, AICP, who used her Northridge collection to write a thesis on the history of planning in Los Angeles, traveled from Riverside for the service. Nadya Andrews, AICP, whose husband Elton was the state’s first planning director and served until the end of Governor Jerry Brown’s second term, came to the service from Sacramento. Other planners who came long distances include Berkeley classmate Don Cotton, AICP, from Pasadena; Janet Rugierro, FAICP, Woodland; Steve Preston, FAICP, San Gabriel; Marge Macris, FAICP, Mill Valley; and George Osner, AICP, Modesto. Among the comments about Betty were these: • She was fantastic in her commitment to the Planners

Emeritus Network. • She was able to do with enthusiasm things that others would have

found to be tiresome, thankless jobs. • The Alameda County planning department was separated into

thinkers and doers. She was in the thinkers’ group and the first to push sustainable planning. • A liberated woman before it was popular; a gentle and warm spirit. • Knowing Betty was an honor, a privilege, a blessing, and good

fortune. Her enthusiastic encouragement paved the way for me and other colleagues. • She blazed the way for women planners. She never missed a state

or national APA conference. Betty Croly is survived by a brother, two sisters, three nephews, and two godchildren. She maintained her sharpness and faculties to the end. As her nephew Allan summed up: “She was passionate about life, had a thirst for knowledge, and was loyal to all.” Many will miss Betty. Those of us in planning surely will. (continued on next page)

Northern News

8 February 2011

In memoriam (continued from previous page) Roy Cameron—longtime South Bay planning director Roy S. Cameron, a consummate professional and former Santa Clara County Planning Director, died December 26, 2010, after a long illness. He was 90. Born May 3, 1920, in San Francisco, Roy graduated from Lowell High School in 1937. He attended UC Berkeley, graduated in 1941 with a major in political science, and served during World War II as a lieutenant in the US Navy. After briefly teaching at Tomales High School, Roy returned to UC Berkeley where he earned a master’s degree in city planning in 1951 as a member of the first class of the Department of City and Regional Planning. Roy began his planning career with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. In 1954, he and two of his co-workers resigned in protest over the mayor’s firing of the Agency’s director, and Roy joined the newly formed Santa Clara County Planning Department. He worked under Karl Belser, a strong county planner who fought to preserve the orchards and open space in Santa Clara County long before the preservation of open space was as respected as it is today. Roy—always open to new ideas and ready to undertake new planning projects—rose through the ranks, becoming the county’s planning director in 1967, a position he held until his retirement in 1980. Throughout his tenure, Roy provided a supportive work environment that attracted and nurtured many talented planners. Under his direction, the county adopted strict policies that prevented urban development in rural unincorporated areas, required cities to adopt explicit urban growth boundaries to guide their development, and held cities responsible for planning and providing services for their own urban growth. He also led the preparation and adoption of an ambitious Regional Parks Plan and a countywide Trails and Pathways Master Plan. Roy is survived by Helen, his wife of almost 62 years, a son, daughter, and three grandchildren. William H. (Bill) Coibion, AICP—SF planning consultant Retired planner William Coibion died October 18, 2010, in Roseville. He was 90. A native of St. Louis, Bill graduated from the University of Illinois in 1947 and became the director of planning for the City of St. Louis. After relocating to San Mateo in 1958, he worked in San Francisco for the Leo A. Daly firm, from which he retired as vice president and director of planning. Mr. Coibion was preceded in death by his wife Jane and a daughter. He is survived by two sons, four grandsons, and six great grandchildren. ■

Northern News

9 February 2011

Northern California roundup Lawsuit holds up lease of state buildings. “An appeals court extended its ban on the sale of 11 state buildings and office properties for at least a month on December 27th, handing the issue to Gov.-elect Jerry Brown. The Sixth District Court of Appeal in San José had blocked the $2.3 billion sale on Dec. 10 in response to a lawsuit claiming the transaction was an illegal gift of state funds to private investors. On Dec. 27, the three-judge panel scheduled arguments for Jan. 26 and left the sale on hold until then. Because the buildings include the Supreme Court’s headquarters at 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco, all seven high court justices disqualified themselves and have been replaced by seven appellate justices, who have not yet acted. Three former Building Authority members claim the sale to an investor group called California First violates laws against the waste of state funds and gifts of state assets. They argue that the Schwarzenegger administration ignored better offers in a secretive bidding process that favored buyers with political pull in Sacramento.” —Bob Egelko, “Calif. state building sale ban extended by court,” San Francisco Chronicle, December 28, 2010, Casino on 101 planned and fought. “Foes of an Indian casino proposed for Rohnert Park are gearing up for new legal efforts to stop the project, one of the most controversial in Sonoma County for a decade. The challenges would focus on the project’s impacts on sewage, endangered species, water supply, traffic, and potential flooding. The Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria have proposed a Las Vegas-style casino and resort with 2,000 slot machines on the city’s northwest edge. The tribe’s business partner is Station Casinos of Las Vegas.” —Jeremy Hay, “Rohnert Park casino foes plan new environmental challenge,” The Press Democrat, December 29, 2010, A new plan for 20 years (make that eight). “The new year could bring fresh eyes to the Humboldt County general plan update, but the change may delay the 12-year process even further. The update of the general plan, a document meant to set the pace for the county’s long-term growth and development, has taken 12 years and counting. The current plan was completed in 1984 and was meant to serve the county for 20 years. Of the 15 chapters, the planning commission has completed the review of six. [Three commissioners are leaving and] taking a lot of institutional knowledge with them. Departing Commissioner Mary Gearheart, who has served on the commission for 16 years, said she’s worked on other general plans (continued on next page) Northern News

10 February 2011

Northern California roundup (continued from previous page) before, and while they can take years to complete, this particular general plan update process has been slow even by those standards.” —Donna Tam, “General plan future uncertain with commissioner change coming up,” Eureka Times-Standard, December 28, 2010, BAAQMD extension notice. To allow more time for lead agencies and others to fully prepare to implement some thresholds adopted in June, the District’s Board of Directors revised the effective date for the risk and hazards thresholds for new receptors from January 1, 2011, to May 1, 2011. All other CEQA thresholds of significance adopted by the Air Quality Board in June 2010 remain in effect. Click here to download the Adopted Thresholds Table, December 2010 (you can change the .ashx file extension to .pdf) or contact Sigalle Michael, or (415) 749-4683.


Calling card advertisements support the Northern News. For more information on placing a calling card announcement and to receive format specifications, contact: Hannah Young, AICP, Advertising Director (510) 847-9936

Larkspur: Affordable housing—with a view. “The project dates back about a decade, when a San Rafael developer approached city officials about developing million-dollar homes on the hillside above Sir Francis Drake Boulevard near the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. A deal was struck between the city and developer to sell eight acres of difficult-to-develop land adjacent to the market-rate units to EAH [a nonprofit housing corporation,] for $1. [The resulting] 24-unit apartment complex—close to Highway 101, buses, bike paths and the Larkspur Ferry—sits on a hilltop with sweeping views of Mount Tamalpais and the San Francisco Bay. The complex is reserved for families of very low and extremely low income. Monthly rents range from $281 to $1,412. Qualifying income for a family of four ranges from about $18,000 to $56,550 per year, [and proof of] steady employment [was required]. Five of the units were set aside for families with special needs.” —Jennifer Upshaw Swartz, “Residents move into affordable housing in Larkspur with million-dollar views,” San José Mercury News, December 24, 2010, Marin agrees to research its lack of diversity. “Marin County has agreed to research why it has so few racial and ethnic minority residents relative to the rest of the Bay Area and to take ‘specific actions’ to attract more low-income people and ethnic minorities to the affluent county, which is 85 percent white. The agreement with HUD came more than a year after the agency found Marin ‘failed to comply’ with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and two other anti-discrimination statutes. The review found that Marin’s federally (continued on next page)

Northern News

11 February 2011

Onward and upward Northern Section’s Juan Borrelli, AICP, has been elected to the APA California Board as Vice President, Professional Development. He is taking over for Carol Barrett, FAICP, under whom he most recently served as the Chapter’s Statewide Programs Coordinator. In his new position, Juan will lead the Chapter’s professional development and AICP/CM continuing education efforts, and will continue to work with each of the sections to identify local and no- or low-cost AICP/CM programs and AICP exam preparation training sessions across the state. In previous APA positions, Juan was Northern Section Director (2007–2008); APA California Conference Co-Chair, San José, 2007; and APA National Conference Steering Committee Chair, San Francisco, 2005. In his day job, Juan has worked since 2003 in several planning and development services-related positions for the City of San José’s Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department—and currently is an Environmental Services Specialist in Watershed Protection Stormwater Management in Environmental Services. Juan holds a master’s in city planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor of design in architecture from the University of Florida. Nathaniel Keohane, “most recently the chief economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, has moved to the National Economic Council at the White House to help direct environmental and energy policy. Mr. Keohane, an early and vigorous proponent of the market-based system of cap and trade to control greenhouse gas emissions, will be joining a White House bracing for an onslaught from Republicans in Congress determined to undo much of the administration’s environmental agenda.” (John M. Broder, “Environmental economist joins White House staff,” The New York Times, January 4, 2010, Dr. Keohane received his doctorate from Harvard (2001) and his bachelor’s degree from Yale (1993). In a 6-minute video— The Facts of Cap-and-Trade, February 2010—he explains why a cap on global warming pollution is the best option to create a better future for America: ■

Northern California roundup (continued from previous page) funded affordable housing programs failed to adequately outreach to minorities and people with disabilities, failed to adequately track which ethnic groups were benefiting from those affordable housing programs, and failed to take steps to ‘affirmatively’ ensure that lowincome and minority residents are not pushed out. HUD’s report noted that ‘even among its relatively small minority population, persons of Black race and Hispanic ethnicity are largely clustered in two minority-impacted census tracts,’ in the housing projects of Marin City and the canal zone of San Rafael.” —Aaron Glantz, “HUD scolds Marin on Fair Housing record,” The Bay Citizen, January 6, 2011, Second units in Atherton. “In an effort to meet state-required goals for new housing, Atherton will relax building restrictions to encourage residents to build second units. Starting in January, second units can be built to a maximum of 1,200 square feet, instead of 600. The ordinance [adopted in December] also reduces the required setback to allow for the second unit. Instead of 60 feet from the rear property line and 50 feet from the sides, second dwellings can be built 48 feet from the rear line and 40 feet from the side property lines. The town may also waive building fees for second units. Atherton is not the only Bay Area city promoting second units as a way to meet the state mandated goal. On the Peninsula, Hillsborough, Woodside, Portola Valley, and Woodside are also using the strategy.” —Bonnie Eslinger, “Atherton to change zoning rules to encourage residents to build second units,” San José Mercury News, December 25, 2010, Ed. Note: Hillsborough has long depended on the construction of second units to meet its state-mandated affordable housing requirement. With second units as the major component of its affordable housing, the town was the second jurisdiction in this most recent update period in Northern California to receive HCD certification of its Housing Element, July 1, 2009. Sonoma County was the first: June 26, 2009. Also see “Berkeley’s little housing solution,” by Tracey Taylor, The Bay Citizen, January 7, 2011, “This home is positively diminutive at just 420 sq ft, and can rightfully be described as a backyard cottage. The cottage boasts six ‘rooms’ and includes distinct areas for living, cooking, eating, working, bathing and sleeping. Small secondary units like this one— also known as in-law units, studios, or accessory buildings—represent a solution to a key challenge facing many cities: how to house a swelling population affordably.” ■

Northern News

12 February 2011

2010 Northern Section

another great

Holiday Party

APA California Northern’s 2010 Holiday Party kicked off the season. The event was held on December 3rd at Farmer’s Market Bistro, 1015 Clay Street, Oakland. Photos by Juan Borrelli, AICP.

Jim Bergdoll (Habitat for Humanity) and Delilah Leval (City of Pleasant Hill)

Darcy Kremin, AICP (Section Director) and Terry Kremin

Dana Gregg (City of Oakland) and Adam Turréy (City of Mountain View)

Corinne Bartshire, AICP (Dewberry) and Katja Irvin, AICP (Santa Clara County)

Janet Palma, AICP (Consultant) and Juan Borrelli, AICP (City of San José)

Alice Chen, AICP (Dowling Associates) and Scott Davidson, AICP (Consultant)

Colette Meunier, AICP (Consultant) and Natalie Macris (Consultant)

Elizabeth Dunn, AICP (City of Novato) and Belinda Smith, AICP (Consultant)

Emy Mendoza (City of San José) and Hing Wong, AICP (ABAG)

(continued on next page)

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February 2011

2010 Northern Section holiday party (continued from previous page)

Eileen Whitty, AICP (EBMUD) and Michael McCormick, AICP (PMC)

Natalie de Leon (City of San José) and Alex Bonilla (First 5 California)

Eileen Whitty, AICP

Northern News


February 2011

David Ralston (City of Oakland) and Licínia McMorrow (SF Redevelopment Agency)

Answer to “Where in the world?� (Page 6) Secession Building, Vienna, 1898. One of the best-known examples of European architecture at the transition from Historicism to Modernism. Photo by Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP Northern News


February 2011

Grab your camera; bring your waders


There’s still time to help with King Tide analysis This announcement is too late for the King tides of January 19 and 20, but the February King tides will occur February 16–18. On those days, high tides around the San Francisco Bay and at the ocean beaches will range from 6 to 10 feet—high enough to provide residents with a preview of what the future might bring as a result of rising sea levels. NOAA, BCDC, the California Coastal Commission and other agencies invite you to photograph on those dates any of the areas around the Bay Area that are known to flood and erode and where the high water levels can be gauged against sea walls, jetties, bridge supports, dikes, or buildings. You are invited to submit your images to a Flickr site ( maintained by the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). NERR and its partners hope to use the images to document the coastal impacts Bay Area residents are likely to face with increasing frequency as sea level continues to rise. Before-and-after pictures for the same location will be particularly useful. You can find submission requirements for the “Bay Area King Tide Photo Initiative” at ■

Principles of Brownfield Regeneration: Cleanup, Design, and Reuse of Derelict Land By Justin B. Hollander, Niall G. Kirkwood, and Julia L. Gold

Reviewed by Jonathan Tracy, Registered Environmental Health Specialist This little book (135 pages divided into five chapters) is both a timely and easily read introduction to a vital topic—the planning aspects of Brownfield development: • the need of the community for, and the advantages of infill development, • the necessity of building a team to complete complex projects, • the need for community outreach, and • the inherent difficulties in overcoming community apathy and/or fear. The distinguishing feature of Brownfield properties is the need to investigate and often remediate residual contamination. In this book the oftentimes elaborate, if not oppressive chemical and geological terminology has been reduced to its simplest form, and discussions of physics and mathematical formulas have been removed entirely. The resulting verbal descriptions of remediation technology comprise the third chapter, a 30-page overview that fits nicely within the overall framework of the book. Chapter four addresses the planning constraints imposed on a site when earlier contamination is not completely removed or remediated but is capped or otherwise left in place. The fifth (last) chapter comprises half the book, with five examples of Brownfield regeneration projects. Finally, although not a chapter, page 121 begins a small section on “Additional Resources” that includes references to more advanced texts and pertinent web sites. This introductory book strives to be national in scope, provide an overall conceptual framework for Brownfield issues, and provide examples of inspirational success stories. What this book inadvertently does is highlight the significant differences between California and many states east of the Mississippi River. In the East, coal, steel, heating oil, and access to commercial rivers or canals for transport are major Brownfield themes. In contrast, California had only one tiny commercial coal mine (on the flanks of Mt. Diablo) and one major steel mill (in Fontana, in Southern California). The majority of our buildings are heated with natural gas or propane rather than heating oil, and we only have two significant inland ports (Sacramento and Stockton). In California the dominant Brownfield themes are petroleum uses (including oil fields, refineries, and consumption by both the (continued on next page)

Northern News


February 2011



I read with interest the report that the American Planning Association has honored the San Francisco Ferry Building as a Great Public Space. (Northern News, November 2010, p. 14) Apparently none of the committee giving this honor attempted to use the Ladies restrooms on a busy Saturday. You noted the manner in which the space was sensitively reorganized to provide shopping and dining. However, public restrooms appear to have been an afterthought. None of the dining establishments have their own facilities and send clients to the hallway restrooms. My mom (in a wheelchair) and I have enjoyed the beauty and variety of activities at the Ferry Building over a period of time. On any day with slow traffic the Ladies room has a line of at least four people. On a weekend, that line extends into the hall. The hallway to the restrooms is a tight corner at the best of times and when crowded is difficult to navigate with a wheelchair. Of late, we have decided to take our shopping and dining dollars to a mall such as Westfield Centre, which, while not as unique to San Francisco or as elegant a design model for repurposed space, at least understands the concept of adequate facilities for patrons.

Principles of Brownfield Regeneration: Cleanup, Design, and Reuse of Derelict Land (continued from previous page) automotive and railroad industries), former Department of Defense sites, agriculture, dry cleaners, saltwater ports serviced by major rail lines, aerospace, computers and related high tech industries, and non-ferrous mining (gravel, gold, mercury, asbestos, cement, borates, etc). Further, California is subject to both a high level of earthquake activity and a fire-flood cycle that generally results in more stringent fire protection and earthquake protective building codes. Consequently some buildings that in other states could be re-used, cannot be economically retrofitted in California and must be replaced. Although the information in this book is not inaccurate or un-useful, it clearly lacks a sense of the immense variety and permutations of contamination issues to be found on Brownfield sites. To illustrate, I offer two brief agricultural examples (a commercial category not commonly associated with Brownfields) from Sonoma County:

Katherine Cameron 419 28th Street San Francisco, CA 94131 â–

1. An existing building just outside Healdsburg had been converted into a winery. The structure originally was built as a prune drying and packing business seven or eight decades ago. The structure was served by natural gas, but the drying sheds had been heated via a very large underground concrete heating oil tank. The heating oil tank was rediscovered in 1998 when a pickup truck was parked over the as yet undiscovered tank. The tank collapsed shortly after the lucky driver left the truck, sending the truck plunging some 12 feet below ground level to the bottom of the tank. The tank had leaked heating oil for many decades and threatened to contaminate a nearby creek. A medium size cleanup was required. 2. A small agricultural property north of Santa Rosa hosts a residence, a pasture, a large garden, and a medium size greenhouse. The County responded to a complaint of a sulfuric acid drum dumped in a small creek on the property. (Dilute sulfuric acid is commonly used to prevent drip emitters from clogging.) The open, empty drum was located—the contents having long since leaked or been removed from the now empty drum. The current owners had not used the greenhouse, but allowed an inspection for the possible presence of additional agricultural chemicals. A highly rusted methyl-bromide tank (a very effective chemical for sterilizing potting soil) was found under a bench. An uncontrolled methyl-bromide release of even a small quantity of gas is immediately life-threatening to any person or animal in the vicinity. The greenhouse was cordoned-off and the manufacturer of the gas was contacted. A company team suited-up in Level A (continued on next page)

Northern News


February 2011

Reviewer wanted

BOOK REVIEW Principles of Brownfield Regeneration: Cleanup, Design, and Reuse of Derelict Land (continued from previous page)

Northern News has received a copy of “New Urban Development—Looking Back to See Forward,” by El Cerrito’s Claude Gruen (Rutgers University Press, 2010, 234 pages, 4 tables, 5 graphs). In his book, Dr. Gruen discusses the unintended consequences of contemporary land-use regulations and priorities. He sees the recent recession as one result of how urban planning laws and practices discouraged innovation and artificially pushed up prices in America’s most economically vibrant regions. And he proposes 13 land use policies to improve the quality of urban life and play a role in enabling the US economy to meet 21st century challenges. Claude Gruen, principal economist of Gruen Gruen + Associates (San Francisco and Chicago), has published extensively on urban economics and land use policy. He specializes in the evaluation and implementation of real estate opportunities and trade-offs. Are you interested in reading “New Urban Development”? Will you commit to writing and submitting a book review by March 9th for publication in the April issue of Northern News? If so, please contact the editor, Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, at If selected, we will send you the book to read and keep. The suggested length for the review is 1,000 to 1,600 words. Northern News reserves the right to select the reviewer. More information on the book can be found at Email now; this offer won’t last for long. ■

protective gear (fully enclosed suits with a pressurized air supply) and placed the rusted cylinder in an “iron coffin” (a large steel tube designed to enclose leaky gas cylinders) for transport back to the manufacturer and eventual recovery. This book does clearly portray, however, the difficult obstacles that can be imposed by multiple government agencies upon Brownfield sites (ouch!). The most common situation I encounter is a site with residual contamination and which has been closed by a Regional Water Quality Control Board and poses an insignificant threat to groundwater and an insignificant vapor intrusion threat to an overlying structure. The question becomes: What are the risks to construction workers installing underground utilities or belowgrade building footings in the vicinity of residual contamination? Sometimes underground utilities can be routed away from residual contamination, but sometimes additional testing and remediation must be done to the depth of the proposed construction activities. These are additional and often unanticipated costs which the developer must bear. Overall this book is an excellent, easy-to-read introduction to Brownfield planning issues, and the “Additional Resources” list is a very handy bonus. The examples of successful Brownfield remediation projects from around the country are very inspiring. But be forewarned, life can be a little more complicated in California. Jonathan Tracy is the Registered Environmental Health Specialist assigned to the Project Review section of Sonoma County’s Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD). Jon can be reached at Principles of Brownfield Regeneration: Cleanup, Design, and Reuse of Derelict Land. Justin B. Hollander, Niall G. Kirkwood, and Julia L. Gold (Island Press 2010). Paperback, $25; hardcover $50. 135 pages. ISBN: 9781597267236 ■

Northern News

18 February 2011

Author! Author!

Call for the 2011 APA California–Northern Section Award Nominations

PUT YOUR NAME ON THIS LIST You, too, can write for Northern News. This publication would not be what it is without original content. We recognize and thank these 31 authors for their contributions to the newsletter in 2010 and invite you to send us your article.

Now is the time to think about those plans, projects, and programs that you want to celebrate! An application form and submission details are provided at Application due date is Friday, March 18, 2011. We invite you to apply for an award in one of the categories listed below. Outstanding Planning Awards • Comprehensive Planning • Planning Implementation • Planning Project • Innovation in Green Community Planning • Focused Issue • Best Practices • Grassroots Initiative • Neighborhood Planning Distinguished Leadership and Service Awards • Distinguished Leadership • Distinguished Service Planner Emeritus Network Honor Awards Planning Achievement Awards • Advocacy/Social Change/Diversity Planning • Contribution to Women and Families • Education Project • Academic Award Journalism and Media Awards Environmental Awards

Abrams, Joshua and Kate Bristol. “Balancing best practices and new state laws: A report about ending homelessness from San Mateo County,” October. Alster, Theresa. “It takes more than parking meters to save a village” (Old Pasadena), April. Alster, Theresa. “San José city, schools, and developers grapple over proposed housing and taxes,” December/January. Eberlein, Sven and Jane Wardani. “Go ahead for downtown Berkeley eco-plaza,” May. Edmundson, Scott. “Sustainability Planning accelerates,” November. Greenberg, Ellen and Kimberly Siegel. “Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities,” May. Hansen, Erin and Justin Meek. “SJSU students work with City of San José on corridor revitalization,” October. Katz, Peter. “Beyond the Priesthood,” March (originally published April 1995). Knox, Naphtali H. “PROP 16: Pacific Grab of Electric?”, March. Knox, Naphtali H. and Justin Meek, Theresa Alster, Riad Elbdour, Steve Ross. “Free parking is a bad idea” (report on Shoup lecture), April. Lehning, Amanda J. “Local aging-friendly policies and programs in the San Francisco Bay Area,” July/August. Leval, Delilah. “How will California’s 2010 propositions play out in local planning?”, December/January. Meek, Justin. “Bay Bridge studio envisions new uses for old eastern span” (review of three student designs), March. Meek, Justin and Naphtali H. Knox. “Charting the future under SB 375—Suburban cities and infill development” (report on Fulton lecture), April. Miyasato, Mika and Caroline Teng. “Profiles of the 2010 award winners, APA California – Northern,” July/August, September, and October. Nabti, Jumana. “Palo Alto’s hate affair with High Speed Rail,” December/January. Palma, Janet. “Book Reviews, Eaarth (Bill McKibben); Green Metropolis (David Owen),” December/January. Piazzale, Steve. “Creating your Personal Brand,” October. Piazzale, Steve. “Networking to the hidden job market,” September. Ratcliffe, Christina. “When there are no planning jobs,” September. Rhoades, Mark. “Sustainable infill development—a planner/developer’s perspective,” November. Savay, Al and Naphtali H. Knox. “Building a foolproof land use planning process,” September. Sherman, Alyssa. “Small steps toward reducing parking requirements,” April. Sutton, Sarah. “Solving urban eco-issues—through the roof!”, February. Teng, Caroline. “CleanPowerSF—a renewable energy alternative on its way to San Francisco,” May. Teng, Caroline. “Lessons learned from Prop 16 for California’s Clean Energy future, September.” Waggoner, Andrew. “Mentorship Program, APA California – Northern,” November. Wenter, Bryan. “State law does not require cities to allow medical marijuana dispensaries,” February. Thanks also to the following for allowing us to republish their articles:

The 2011 Awards will be presented on Friday, May 20, 2011. Please contact Awards Co-Directors Eileen Whitty at or Andrea Ouse at for more information. ■

Caterino, Jennifer. “A Void in the Plan,” March, courtesy The Architect’s Newspaper. Susskind, Lawrence. “Book Review: Collaborative Rationality” (a review of Planning With Complexity, by Judith E. Innes and David Booher), May. Vazquez, Leonardo. “Speaking truth to false dilemma,” February, courtesy Professional Development Institute, Rutgers University. ■

Northern News


February 2011


HSR notes

City of Beverly Hills Associate Planner Journey Level Professional, performing current, advance planning, and environmental analysis implementing the Municipal Code, local guidelines, and State law. This is the second working level in the Planner series. Associate Planners have acquired the skills and experience to perform planning duties of moderate difficulty and require less supervision. The following qualifications are typically required. An equivalent combination of education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities sufficient to satisfactorily perform the duties of the job may be substituted: • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in planning, architecture, economics, geography, public policy, or related field. • A master’s degree is desirable. • Three or more years of progressively responsible current and/or advanced planning or community development experience. • AICP is desirable. • Six months of internship experience may be considered. • Possession of a California driver’s license. Position OPEN UNTIL FILLED and may close at any time. Applications accepted beginning January 24, 2011. For more information or to apply, visit ■

Peninsulans get a good seat at the table. Freshman Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) was named chairman of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Resources and Transportation. The subcommittee oversees the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Redwood City, and San Carlos are in Gordon’s district and along the HSR line. Added funds extend initial construction. “Moving quickly to take advantage of $616 million in new federal funding, the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board unanimously approved committing state matching funds to extend construction of the initial Central Valley backbone of the statewide system. The additional funds will allow building as many as 120 miles of the project’s 520-mile first phase through Bakersfield and Fresno. Project engineers looked at the option of extending construction north toward Merced, but recommended against it until a final alignment is chosen for Fresno to Sacramento. Meanwhile, the Authority is working to jump-start planning and design for high-speed rail stations across the state, including Gilroy and San José.” (CHSRA press release, December 20, 2010, The authority directed $500,000 to Bakersfield and another $500,000 to Merced for station design, the amounts to be matched by local funding. (Gennady Sheyner, “First rail segment to stretch to Bakersfield,” Palo Alto Online, December 22, 2010, “Failure to communicate? The California High-Speed Rail Authority faced a wave of ridicule in December over its decision to begin the rail line between the Central Valley communities of Borden and Corcoran. At their Dec. 20 meeting, the authority’s board members voiced frustration about the chorus of criticism the recent decision has inspired. Vice Chair Tom Umberg urged authority CEO Roelof van Ark to come up with a report that would help the agency relay its message in the future. ‘How can we do a better job communicating so that we can make sure people understand what we’re about, which is building a system from Northern California to Southern California—not building a system between two locations in the Central Valley?” Ogilvy Public Relations is charged with heading the authority’s communications under a $9 million contract approved in November 2009.” (Upfront, Palo Alto Weekly, December 31, 2010, page 4, Diridon off CHSRA board. “Silicon Valley leaders expressed concern about the departure of Rod Diridon Sr. from the board of California’s High-Speed Rail Authority, saying it may cost Santa Clara County an influential voice in how the multibillion-dollar project is carried out in the region. [On December 30, outgoing] Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Fresno real estate developer Thomas Richards and Los Angeles publisher Matthew Toledo to the board” to replace Diridon and Los Angeles’ Richard Katz who earlier resigned. “The board is made up of nine members—five appointed by the governor and two members each by the state Assembly and Senate.” (Tracy Seipel, “Longtime San José transportation leader Rod Diridon Sr. leaves high speed rail authority board,” San Jose Mercury News, December 31, 2010, SPUR planning policy paper available for download. “California cities anticipating the rewards of new high-speed rail stations may fail to reap the full economic and environmental benefits without key land-use planning. (continued on next page)page) (continued on next

Northern News

20 February 2011

Alvaro Huerta wins National APA Award

HRS notes (continued from previous page)

Advancing Diversity & Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff

“Raised in East Lost Angeles by Mexican immigrant parents, Alvaro Huerta’s experiences in turbulent housing projects and overcrowded public schools, fighting the daily pressure to join a gang and drop out of school, helped shape his lifelong commitment to social justice, diversity, and service for the poor. He defied great odds to earn two degrees from UCLA, and he will receive his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley this spring. “Huerta is a positive role model for Latino communities and the planning field. He has mentored numerous individuals interested in pursuing urban planning educations. He is a visiting scholar at UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center and a visiting lecturer at UCLA’s Department of Urban Planning. He contributes op-ed columns for The Progressive, Los Angeles Business Journal, and the Santa Monica Mirror, along with numerous political and literary blogs.” ■

For the 25 cities designated as future HSR stops, the new statewide rail system presents a once-in-a-century opportunity to reshape their local economies and set the course for more compact, less automobile-dependent growth. SPUR’s study identifies specific land-use planning strategies that will contribute to the success of HSR and help cities, and ultimately California, realize the full potential of the multi-billion-dollar system.” The 22-page SPUR paper “does not argue that high-speed rail necessitates a new form of planning in California. But it does require changes to how state and local governments jointly support development. Many of the past tools that have been applied in different circumstances will not be perfectly applicable to high-speed rail.” Download “Beyond the tracks: How smart land-use planning can reshape California’s growth” at Chinese may again build California’s railroads. “In the 19th century, laborers from China helped build railroads spanning California and linking the U.S. coasts. In the 21st century, the Chinese may be back—but with financial and technological muscle. The Chinese want in on the state’s fledgling high-speed rail project. They’re eager to help bankroll and build the system and, eventually, provide the trains to operate on the tracks. Because the U.S. lacks both technology and expertise in high-speed rail—like the trains, signals, and electrification—foreign involvement from countries where high-speed trains already operate will be inevitable in California. Jeffrey Barker, the authority’s deputy executive director, said bidders may put up billions of dollars in either cash or construction of needed technology, or offer to provide trains at no cost, in exchange for the long-term rights to operate the system as a business. Competition is expected, but Usha Haley, an expert on China’s worldwide business strategies, says China’s state-supported companies have a leg up because they might be willing to sacrifice profit for prestige. But other foreign companies are preparing for what is likely to be a spirited competition. They include Alstom (France), Siemens (Germany), and South Korea’s Hyundai.” (Tim Sheehan, “China eyes California’s high-speed rail system,” The Fresno Bee, January 1, 2011, Mr. President, slow down this train! Expressing “doubts about the ultimate feasibility” of President Obama’s “vision of a national high-speed rail network” across the US, The Washington Post writes that “This would be a matter of purely West Coast interest but for the fact that the US government is paying more than half the cost of the new track, including $600 million newly diverted from Midwestern states that rejected the funds. Indeed, the Federal Rail Administration required that the money be spent in the Central Valley. It was the part of the state most likely to be ready to use it by a September 2011 deadline, because local property owners in more populated areas are stirring opposition, which drags out the environmental review process. At the very least, California should have to fill in its project’s economic and logistical blanks before any more money—from state taxpayers or the rest of us—is spent.” (From “Hit the brakes on California’s high-speed rail experiment,” Editorial, The Washington Post, January 11, 2011, Jeff Wood (Reconnecting America) suggests also reading the response by Robert Cruikshank: “The Washington Post’s ignorant attack on California HSR,” California High Speed Rail Blog, January 11, 2011, ■

Northern News

21 February 2011

What others are saying End of an era. “We are leaving an era where to be a mayor, governor, senator, or president was, on balance, to give things away to people. And we are entering an era where to be a leader will mean, on balance, to take things away from people. It is the only way we’ll get our fiscal house in order before the market, brutally, does it for us.” —Thomas L. Friedman, “Cut here. Invest there,” The New York Times, December 26, 2010, Don’t friend me just yet. “More than anything since the invention of the postal service, Facebook has revolutionized how we relate to one another. [Yet] our circle of actual friends remains stubbornly small, limited not by technology but by human nature. We devote 40 percent of our limited social time each week to the five most important people we know, who represent just 3 percent of our social world. Indeed, no matter what Facebook allows us to do, most of us can maintain only around 150 meaningful relationships, online and off. Until relatively recently, almost everyone on earth lived in small, rural, densely interconnected communities, where our 150 friends all knew one another, and everyone’s 150 friends list was everyone else’s.” —Robin Dunbar, “You’ve got to have (150) Friends,” The New York Times, December 26, 2010,

JOBS AND FINDING THEM Jobs now vs. a year ago. “Marketplace Reporter Mitchell Hartman talks with Bob Moon about whether we are making progress in the labor market. MOON: So we end 2010 with some sobering stats: unemployment at 9.8 percent, only 39,000 jobs added last month. Are we making progress or not? HARTMAN: When you look at where we were one year ago, things are actually a lot better. In December 2009, we lost 100,000 private sector jobs. Sometimes last year we were losing 700-, 800,000 a month. That is just staggering. This year, every single month private employers have added workers—it averages more than 100,000 a month. MOON: Not so bad, but is it enough jobs to whittle away at unemployment? HARTMAN: No. We’re barely adding enough jobs for young people entering the work force. Gary Burtless, a labor economist at the Brookings Institution, says this has never happened after a recession going all the way back to World War II. ‘Looking at the experience of the last year, it would probably take 25 years for the unemployment rate to get down to 5 percent.’ I’m guessing when we do this next year, we’ll still have unemployment around 9 percent. It’s going to be awful for people who’ve already been unemployed a long time. But for the rest of us who still go to work every day, Burtless says things are actually looking up. ‘Their work week is

rising, their hourly pay is improving in inflation-adjusted dollars, and their chances of getting laid off has declined.’ ” —“Jobs: Labor market improving, but it’s not enough.” Listen to the broadcast on Marketplace from American Public Media, December 28, 2010, What’s in your résumé? “LinkedIn’s Analytics Team decided to take a crack at finding the most clichéd and overused phrases for the past year using over 85 million LinkedIn profiles. Here are our 2010 top 10 buzzwords used in the USA. • “extensive experience • “proven track record • “innovative • “team player • “motivated • “fastpaced • “results-oriented • “problem solver • “dynamic • “entrepreneurial.” Some suggestions found on LinkedIn: • “The New Year is a perfect time to give your profile a makeover and lose those clichéd terms.” —Manu Sharma, “Did you use one of these 10 most overused buzzwords in your LinkedIn profile this year?” • “I’m just one guy, and my profile is probably far from perfect. But it seems like a smart approach to writing your profile would be to just describe what you do/have done and avoid buzzwords altogether.” —Don Synstelien, CEO at Extrafeet, Atlanta. • LinkedIn career consultant Lindsey Pollack has lots of good advice. To help you be specific about what you’ve accom plished and what you seek, visit

THE CENSUS Talk about change! When this planner/editor came to California in 1960, the state’s population was 1.7 million, about 8.8 percent of the US population of 179.3 million. Over the previous decade, the state had grown by a whopping 48.5 percent. It was a great place for a young planner! Over the past 50 years, our country has grown by 72.2 percent to 308.7 million while California’s population has grown by 137 percent to 37.3 million. California has 12.1 percent of the country’s population. Our population density increased to 239.1 persons per square mile in 2010 compared to 217.4 in 2000 and 100.9 in 1960. You can easily derive such stats from the Census interactive map at American Community Survey maps available. “For the first time in a decade, the Census Bureau has drilled down to the neighborhood level to provide figures on income, housing, living arrangements, race, ethnicity, nativity, occupation, and commuting in microscopic detail.” Released December 14, 2010, “The bureau’s (continued on next page)

Northern News

22 February 2011

What others are saying (continued from previous page) in the new Congress, derided the EPA move as a “Christmas surprise.” —Matthew L. Wald, “E.P.A. says it will press on with greenhouse gas regulation,” The New York Times, December 24, 2010,

American Community Survey, which covers 2005 to 2009, … collected data from five annual surveys offering a moving picture of how neighborhoods have evolved since 2000, and a snapshot of the second half of the last decade. These surveys, which represent a sample of the population, are separate from the 2010 census.” (Sam Roberts, “New York by Community Survey Census Numbers,” The New York Times, December 14, 2010, Based on data from the Survey, The Times mapped every block in America 22 different ways. The four main data categories are race and ethnicity, income, housing and families, and education. (“Mapping America: Every City, Every Block,” The New York Times, Choose the information you want to see mapped, the location in the country, and use the scale bar to zoom in or out. For example, select “distribution of racial and ethnic groups,” enter your home zip code, then zoom in to the census block where you live. Or select “foreign-born population,” enter “San Francisco, CA,” then zoom out to see the pattern for the Bay Area.

It’s the snow in Siberia. “The earth continues to get warmer, yet it’s feeling a lot colder outside. The snow and record cold have invaded the Eastern United States, with more bad weather predicted. [Yet] 2010 will probably be among the three warmest years on record, and 2001 through 2010 the warmest decade on record. Most forecasts have failed to predict these colder winters because the primary drivers in their models are the oceans, which have been warming even as winters have grown chillier. The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it.” —Judah Cohen, “Bundle up, it’s Global Warming,” The New York Times, December 26, 2010,

ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE Fascinating—the US Navy is going green. See Thomas L. Friedman, “The U.S.S. Prius: There’s a green revolution going on in the Navy and Marines,” The New York Times, December 19, 2010, EPA moves ahead on GHG. On December 23rd, “The Environmental Protection Agency announced a timetable for issuing rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and oil refineries, signaling a resolve to press ahead on such regulation even as it faces stiffening opposition in Congress. The agency said it would propose performance standards for new and refurbished power plants next July, with final rules to be issued in May 2012. Proposed emissions standards for new oil refineries will be published next December, with the final rules due in November 2012; rules for existing plants would come later. “The EPA seemed to be flexing its muscle after drawing criticism from environmental groups for recently deciding to delay issuing standards on conventional pollutants from industrial boilers. But by isolating only power plants and refineries, the agency also seemed to signal that for now, at least, it will go after only big industrial sources. Coal-fired power plants already face a cascade of new regulations scheduled to take effect in coming months covering their emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, mercury, and other pollutants. By putting utilities on notice that it is adding carbon dioxide to the pollutant list, the EPA is increasing pressure on utilities to shut down older coal-fired plants. Representative Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who became chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

Northern News

2010 ties for hottest year. “The United States was wetter and hotter last year than the average values for the 20th century, but over all the year was not as exceptional in this country as for the world as a whole. Two agencies, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reported that the global average surface temperature for 2010 tied the record set in 2005. It was the 34th year running that global temperatures have been above the 20th-century average; the last below-average year was 1976. The new figures show that 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since the beginning of 2001.” —Justin Gillis, “2010 tied 2005 as hottest year, climate figures show,” The New York Times, January 13, 2011, Graphic at Improved GHG data gathering. “The company behind one of the largest networks of weather monitoring stations on the planet—and the purveyor of WeatherBug—is betting that providing greenhouse gas data will also prove to be lucrative. AWS Convergence Technologies is rebranding itself Earth Networks to deploy a network of 100 greenhouse gas sensors at various sites around the planet. Today, such data are collected through a patchwork of monitoring sites operated by a mixture of government and academic entities around the globe, including fewer than a dozen in the United States. The network will initially monitor concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane. Picarro, a Silicon Valley manufacturer of gas analyzers, will provide the initial suite of sensors. Pieter Tans, a senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the looming threat of climate change will inevitably drive a market for accurate and objective accounting systems.” —Tom Zeller, Jr., “Weather Monitoring Company turns to Greenhouse Gases,” The New York Times, January 12, 2011, ■

23 February 2011

NORTHERN SECTION CALENDAR To list an event in the Northern Section calendars (Northern News, monthly; eNews, every two weeks), go to to see the required template (at top of page), the current listings, and where to send your formatted item. ONGOING Symposium, 1909–2109: Sustaining the Lasting Value of American Planning. This four-hour symposium on May 21, 2009, brought together federal officials, planners, academics, and grassroots advocates to focus on the achievements of America's first 100 years of planning. See a video of the symposium (free) and earn CM credits. Visit CM | up to 4.0 may be earned by viewing all four parts of the symposium video.

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Presented by Planning and Conservation League (PCL) and PCL Foundation. 9 AM–5 PM, Sheraton Grand, 1230 J Street, Sacramento. An open forum to brainstorm ideas, understand issues, and advance solutions for issues heading into the next decade. Sessions with CM credits include: • General Plans—Still critical, still contentious. • What is next for California water? • Natural resource economics. • Perspectives on energy siting. • CEQA 201—A look at 2009/2010 and rollback preventions. • Groundwater—What lies beneath? • Water wars—Present and future. • Getting Smart Growth where it needs to be. • Roads, wildlife, and wilderness. Registration: $130 for PCL Members; $150 Government Rate; $160 Non-member; $65 Student. For more information, go to: CM | up to 3.75 (Law, up to 2.5) 9 AM—2 PM. MTC, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, CA. The League of Women Voters Bay Area is proud to present this year’s event, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Let’s Take it to the Next Level”. Keynote Speaker Dan Reicher, Executive Director of the new Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, will discuss sustainability practices. Three speaker-panels will talk about regional and local conservation steps taken by government, science, and a local high school. Hear the latest on deconstructing buildings, electric cars, alternative fuels, sustainability programs, and energy use in California. Cost: $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Includes light breakfast and sandwich lunch. Register online through January 24 at CM | 4.0 (continued on next page)

Northern News


February 2011

NORTHERN SECTION CALENDAR (continued from previous page)

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10 AM–3 PM, San José State University. To register, contact Don Bradley at or (650) 592-0915.

Noon–1 PM, Humboldt County Public Health Office Conference room, 908–7th Street, Eureka. Speakers include Ann Lindsay, MD, County Public Health Director. Free. For more information, contact Stephen Avis at or (707) 725-1407. 6 PM. Meet at MIG, Inc., 800 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley. Social event to follow at a location TBD. Get a feel for how private-sector planners operate on a daily basis, have the opportunity to pose questions to staff members, and glance at current projects in the making. Free. Space is limited. RSVP at by February 10. For more information, contact Lindsey Virdeh or Natalie de Leon at 5:10 PM. Meet in front of River Lodge located at 1800 South 12th Street, Fortuna. After walking along the river, socialize with fellow planners at Eel River Brewery at 1777 Alamar Way, Fortuna. For more information, contact Stephen Avis at or (707) 725-1407. 10 AM–3 PM, San José State University. To register, contact Don Bradley at or (650) 592-0915. (continued on next page)

Northern News

25 February 2011

NORTHERN SECTION CALENDAR (continued from previous page) MARCH

MARCH Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu 6 13 20 27

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APA California – Northern, Regular Board Meeting. 6–9 PM, Location TBD. RSVP to Allen Tai at


AICP Exam Preparation Workshop. 10 AM–3 PM, San José State University. To register, contact Don Bradley at or (650) 592-0915.


APA California Northern Planning Awards. Nominations and application materials for the APA California Northern Planning Awards are available on or and are due by 5 PM, Friday, March 18, 2011. Materials received after this date will not be accepted and will not be returned. No exceptions!



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Northern News

AICP Exam Preparation Workshop. 10 AM–3 PM, San José State University. To register, contact Don Bradley, or (650) 592-0915. NOTE: Because of Spring Break, SJSU is closed April 2. Therefore, this Workshop will either have to move off-campus or be rescheduled to another date. ■


February 2011

N News Feb 2011  

City and regional planning news for northern California

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